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Review: The First Book of Ore by Cam Baity & Benny Zelkowicz

July 17th, 2014 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kaitlin under Review Tags: Benny Zelkowicz, Cam Baity, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Review, The Books of Ore, The First Book of Ore: The Foundry’s Edge

The First Book of Ore The Foundry's EdgeTitle: The First Book of Ore: The Foundry’s Edge

Author: Cam Baity &Benny Zelkowicz

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Series: The Books of Ore (Book #1)

Publication Date: April 15, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 448 Pages

ISBN-10: 1423162277 (Disney-Hyperion)

ISBN-13: 978-1423162278 (Disney-Hyperion)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin

Synopsis:

For Phoebe Plumm, life in affluent Meridian revolves around trading pranks with irksome servant Micah Tanner and waiting for her world-renowned father, Dr. Jules Plumm, to return home. Chief Surveyor for The Foundry, a global corporation with an absolute monopoly on technology, Phoebe’s father is often absent for months at a time. But when a sudden and unexpected reunion leads to father and daughter being abducted, Phoebe and would-be rescuer Micah find themselves stranded in a stunning yet volatile world of living metal, one that has been ruthlessly plundered by The Foundry for centuries and is the secret source of every comfort and innovation the two refugees have ever known.

Quick & Dirty: This book wasn’t for me. I didn’t connect with the characters and spent most of the time confused.

Opening Sentence: The man in the fog was watching her.

Excerpt:Yes

The Review:

Phoebe Plumm’s dad helps run the Foundry, he’s the world leader in machines and all new technological advances. But it seems the Foundry might not be as innocent as citizens were led to believe. Phoebe is an escapee of the recent kidnap of her and Mr. Plumm, she teams up with one of her worst enemies to get her father back. This journey leads Micah and Phoebe into Mehk, a world that the Foundry has been abusing for years as a way to discover the new advances that Phoebe has coveted in the past. Because Mehk is a world of living, breathing metal.

We start in the future, a not-so-far future but one rich in technological innovations. I loved the way all the different trends were described, and it was really interesting to be immersed into such an advanced society. For example, we have cable bikes: bikes attached to thick wires that intersect and cross like roads, except in the air. Also, the honeygum, which made my mouth water: a flavored, thick liquid that solidifies into gum in your mouth. Learning about the bright civilization the world had become was one of my favorite parts of reading this story. However, once things got complicated, it went into a downward spiral. I started enjoying myself less and less and got more confused with every page. It all started when we were introduced to Mehk. Suddenly, the duel point of view of the Foundry chairman that was also added only made things harder to get into. There is supposedly a war that is about to erupt, but I wish that I could have seen more groundwork behind the two countries before learning about their troubles.

Enter the Mehk, an astoundingly unique world full of living metal. Throughout the ages, this world has been plundered and its inhabitants murdered by the Foundry, so that the corporation can create greater machines and tech for the human world of “bleeders”. Its inhabitants mostly speak in rattletrap, the language of the metal creatures. It was awesome to hear about the different species of metal things, but at the same time it was difficult to understand. The originality of the concept is so amazing that before reading I was excited to dive in, but I wasn’t able to get lost in the world building because of I would still be muddling through what had been talked about last paragraph. So much was put into the stories of Mehk and how it connected with the Foundry but that was when I most wanted to chuck the book at the wall. Once, a character mentions CHAR, which captures the metal creatures in eternal torment. I didn’t realize until the end that the character had been describing that the creatures were melted down to liquid. Finally, my last complaint about Mehk. The Mehkans speak so annoyingly. Dollop, a main character during the children’s time in Mehk, talks with a stutter. “S-s-so.” And another large amount of the book is devoted to two characters that talk with words that sometimes I have to search on the internet because they aren’t often used by today’s people, even if they are English.

This book is technically considered middle grade but I didn’t see it. The words used were YA level and the emotions the characters had belonged in a YA book as well.

Phoebe and Micah were two enemies turned friends. If you love book romances, I warn you not to start this one as you will be disappointed. The relationship is a cute friendship and doesn’t stray behind one hug at the very end! Maybe this is why it is considered young adult…

If you are drawn in by the exciting and unique premise, and can easily keep up with hard and confusing plotlines, I encourage you to pick this up. However, this novel was not for me. I didn’t appreciate the characters very much. The setting was the only redeeming quality that I very much enjoyed, except when I was angrily rolling my eyes because I didn’t get it. Mehk is such an interesting and intriguing idea that I wish I could have had a better experience with it. While the end of the book has a couple of twists, I saw one coming for awhile, and the other just didn’t affect me. I didn’t connect with the Micah or Phoebe enough to really care about what happened to them. In fact, the only character I loved was Dollop, who I just thought was a really adorable metal creature I imagined in the shape of a dog. Plus, the plotline really dragged towards the middle. I hope you like this novel better than I did!

Notable Scene:

Is that… me?

Her hair was a matted nest, her face sunburned and strained with sweat-streaked grease. She held her own gaze for a long moment, marveling at the hardened girl staring back at her.

She was doing this. She was going to find him.

The Books Of Ore:

1. The First Book of Ore: The Foundry’s Edge

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FTC Advisory: Disney Hyperion provided me with a copy of The First Book of Ore: The Foundry’s Edge. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

July 16th, 2014 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kristie under Review Tags: Fantasy, Review, Sarah Rees Brennan, The Lynburn Legacy, Untold, Young Adult

UntoldTitle: Untold

AuthorSarah Rees Brennan

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: The Lynburn Legacy (Book #2)

Publication Date: September 24, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 367 Pages

ISBN-10: 0375870423 (Teens@Random)

ISBN-13: 978-0375870422 (Teens@Random)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

It’s time to choose sides….

On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?

A darkly humorous take on Gothic romance, Sarah Rees Brennan’s Lynburn Legacy weaves together the tale of a heroine desperate to protect those she loves, two boys hoping to be saved, and the magical forces that will shape their destiny.

Quick & Dirty: Good story, but with a dark and tragic storyline, it may leave you a bit sad and depressed by the end.

Opening Sentence: Welcome to Sorry-in-the-Vale.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Warning: There will be spoilers from the first novel, Unspoken, in this review. Untold, is the second novel in the Lynburn Legacy trilogy. It has only been two weeks since the showdown with Rob Lynburn and the cessation of Kami’s link with Jared. Kami doesn’t know how to respond to Jared’s hatred so she continues on with her life like she always did, with ambivalence and snappy words. Kami continues with her investigation into the Lynburns and learning who are the potential sorcerers helping Rob.

Kami and her friends take it upon themselves to save the town. No one wants to stand up to Rob but they also do not want to supply the human sacrifice that he is asking for. Kami and the others learn self-defense and also learn to defend themselves from magic as best as they can. The adults in town just want the kids to leave it alone and just ignore Rob. But you just can’t ignore a guy that has no problem with killing.

Kami’s relationships are falling apart. She no longer feels as close to Angela as she used to knowing that Angela has been hiding secrets from her this whole time. She lost Jared when she cut the connection to him. Her mother has always been secretive and once Kami’s father learns the truth she doesn’t believe her parents will remain together for much longer. It also doesn’t help that it appears as if Kami’s mom is supporting Rob.

The winter solstice is coming and that is when Rob demands his sacrifice. Kami and her friends spend that time rallying the town to fight back. She even tries to plan with Lillian Lynburn but Lillian won’t listen to her since she isn’t a source anymore and has no magic of her own. Kami learns of something she can do in the fight against Rob but is she willing to commit that ultimate sacrifice.

Untold had some really emotional moments for me especially in the relationship department between Kami and Jared. I just wanted to reach through the book and slap Jared but sadly I couldn’t… I really anticipated the scenes with Kami and Jared that I would speed read through everything else.

The novel is told in the third person and jumps from Kami and many of her friends’ point of views. The atmosphere of the novel is very dark with humor thrown in. I really enjoyed the humor in Unspoken but this time I just felt the humor wasn’t quite as clever and that it was only trying to help lighten up the dark story.

Overall, I enjoyed the story told in Untold. I didn’t like it quite as much as I liked Unspoken but I really do love the side characters in this series so that really helped seeing their side of the story throughout this novel. The ending did still leave me a bit sad and depressed. After all the tragedy this town has gone through it just doesn’t seem like there could be much of a happy story in the end. On that note, I really want to get my hands on a copy of Unmade to see how it all ends.

Notable Scene:

“You said,” she said slowly, “that what I wanted was the most important thing. But I don’t want you to do things because I want them. I want you to do what you want. So … what is it that you want?” she asked him.

He was silent for the space of a few breaths, long enough for her to begin to hope, and then he said, “I want the link back. More than anything in the world.”

“I see,” Kami said softly. She kept walking beside him, but a little farther apart. The cold air surrounded her on all sides.

The Lynburn Legacy:

1. Unspoken

2. Untold

3. Unmade (September 23, 2014)

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FTC Advisory: I purchased my own copy of Untold. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

July 15th, 2014 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Kristie under Review Tags: Fantasy, Review, Sarah Rees Brennan, The Lynburn Legacy, Unspoken, Young Adult

UnspokenTitle: Unspoken

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: The Lynburn Legacy (Book #1)

Publication Date: September 11, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 370 Pages

ISBN-10: 0375870415 (Teens@Random)

ISBN-13: 978-0375870415 (Teens@Random)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

Quick & Dirty: A deeply, imaginative gothic fantasy with hilariously snarky characters.

Opening Sentence: Every town in England has a story.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up, Unspoken, the first book in the Lynburn trilogy. I was hooked right away by Kami Glass’ snarky and brutal humor. She has no problem letting people know what she thinks and she equally has no problem throwing herself into potentially dangerous situations.

Kami Glass is strangely inquisitive and wants to know all the secrets of her little England town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. She really wants to learn about the mysterious Lynburn family that has “protected” the town for hundreds of years. Coincidentally, the Lynburns have just returned back to town after many years away. Kami starts up a newspaper in her school and her first big breaking story will be to tell the Lynburn’s secrets. But Kami is hiding a huge secret of her own. She has an imaginary friend. She has been speaking to Jared her whole life and little does she know that she will soon find out that Jared isn’t so imaginary.

Kami doesn’t have to wait long before she starts to get the answers she seeks, both of the teenaged Lynburn cousins enroll in her school. Ash is the cute and charming Lynburn, he soon has Kami gushing over him and recruiting him to work on the newspaper. Jared (yes that Jared!) is not a good looking as his cousin Ash. He has a scar cutting across the side of his face. He is (of course) the bad boy and always getting into fights.

Sorry-the-the-Vale holds some really dark secrets and when Kami finds a mutilated fox in the woods she wants to discover the culprit. Not long afterwards, she is knocked down a well and almost drowns. Jared comes to her rescue and quickly decides that he will keep an eye on her in case someone is out to kill her.

Unspoken is the gothic tale of Kami who has always kind of been an outsider in her town. Kami’s Asian ancestry also has her not quite fitting in in her little England town. She really tries to not let that get her down so she is very snarky and often says what she thinks because she doesn’t care what other people think of her. Sometimes Kami gets a little too overboard with her snarkiness but I still enjoyed it. Kami’s best friend Angela had me chuckling a lot especially with her disdain for other people and her complete love of laziness and sleeping.

When Kami and Jared learn that they are in fact real people and not imaginary, they are both devastated. I really liked Jared but he was a bit frustrating about all the mixed signals that he kept giving Kami. Although Kami didn’t help with that much especially in the beginning but after she made her decision it was really hard to see him keep shying away from her.

I felt like the first half of Unspoken really focused on the fun, snarky Kami and her friends with a little bit of mystery before turning into the full blown mystery with a little bit of snark thrown in. The first half of the book really flew by for me while I felt the second half slowed down a bit. It wasn’t because the story really slowed down, I felt like more and more questions kept getting thrown onto the mystery before anything finally happened. The story did get much darker and this novel doesn’t have a happy ending, but that is why it is part of a trilogy, right? I am really happy that I have the next book in the series ready to pick up.

Notable Scene:

His hand shot out and slammed down on a button. The doors closed and he slammed another hand on the lift wall, close to her head. The clang reverberated in her ears. He was standing next to her suddenly, much too close, bowed down so she was looking directly into those cold eyes. “Kami.”

Kami wasn’t shaking. The world was shaking her, the world was shaking apart and about to fall to pieces. Nothing made sense anymore. “Jared?” she whispered. Her voice was changed like everything else, sounding as if it did not belong to her. She lifted a hand, seeing her fingers tremble in the dim lights of the lift, up to touch his face.

Jared grabbed her wrist.

They stood absolutely still for a moment, looking at each other. Kami didn’t dare move. She could feel her pulse pounding against his palm. He was real. He was here, and she was scared.

He let go of her and stepped back.

They were on opposite sides of the lift again, just like before, except now he was watching her. The cold lights had swallowed up his eyes: they were pale and awful, the kind of eyes you might fear watching you in the darkness when you walked home alone. His feelings hit her, not like having someone reaching out but like someone throwing something at her. She had never felt anything like this before in her life. It was like being enveloped by a storm with no calm center, with no calm anywhere to be found. Kami felt blinded by it, by Jared’s fury and panic, and above all his black terror.

The link between them had become an onslaught. Kami could not just tell what Jared was thinking, she could feel it. She could not escape, could not untangle the strands of herself from him. She tried to visualize walls in her head, shields that she could hide behind, feeling both exposed and lost.

“Stop it,” she said, her voice catching.

“You stop it!” he whispered back.

They sounded like terrified children, and strangers who hated each other. Kami could not tell who was the most afraid.

The Lynburn Legacy:

1. Unspoken

2. Untold

3. Unmade (September 23, 2014)

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FTC AdvisoryRandom House Books for Young Readers provided me with a copy of Unspoken. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Fragments by Dan Wells

July 14th, 2014 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Jessie under Review Tags: Dan Wells, Dystopian, Fragments, Partials Sequence, Review, Young Adult

FragmentsTitle: Fragments

Author: Dan Wells

Genre: YA Dystopian

Series: Partials Sequence (Book #2)

Publication Date: February 26, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 576 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062071076 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062071071 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Jessie

Synopsis

Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is only just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues as to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence–it can only be part of a larger plan, a plan that Kira knows she must be a part of, a plan that could save both races. Her only allies are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them? Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what’s left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira’s journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and they will both discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn’t even know existed.

The second installment in the pulse-pounding Partials saga is the story of the eleventh hour of humanity’s time on earth, a journey deep into places unknown to discover the means–and ever more important, a reason–for our survival.

Quick & Dirty: A slower paced, but still unpredictable and dramatic, sequel to Partials that launches Kira on a ridiculously awesome journey and hurls us straight into the final book of the Partials series, Ruins.

Opening Sentence: “Raise a glass,” said Hector, “to the best officer in New America.”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Fragments is an interesting and exciting sequel that almost lives up to the rest of the Partials series but falls a smidgeon short in a few areas. The main characters remain just as captivating (but still believable), however, the plot just had a hint of filler thrown in. With a really good book or series it’s hard to say that less is more but they could have cut out a little more of the monotony in this particular part of the series and maybe even added on some more details at the end of the series, or to the most exciting portions, particularly as a certain romantic relationship starts to develop.

Kira is as compelling as ever, as she fights heartily against everything that comes between her and saving humanity. She is too driven and stubborn to succeed easily as a liaison between the Partial and Human races, but the best characters are ones that have to overcome themselves, in addition to outside forces, to succeed. Samm, Heron, and Marcus all develop much more as characters and it is quite refreshing to see their points of view. This style keeps the focus on Kira while serving a utilitarian purpose of keeping the audience informed as the characters are separated by a much wider surface area in this novel. Emotionally, however, rotating points of view is much more rewarding, as a bit of our anticipation is quenched when we find out that Kira’s interpersonal skills really are lacking in some areas and most of the characters are not actually thinking what she thinks they are. The new characters that are introduced in Fragments do not play minor roles. They are fully integrated into the plot and become more important than we can initially comprehend. When Kira teams up with a highly unlikely hero, Afa, he adds interest to the book by being so raw and plain. On the other hand, especially with his limitations and his skill set, he seems just a little too convenient.

With Afa as the most obvious example, for as long as the book is, several factors in Fragments seem to trend more toward convenience than believability. The other books didn’t have that same effect, which made it seem almost as if  the focus was on the first and third books in the series, with the second thrown in with less thought and less core. The plot was still necessary to the collection, just somewhat rudimentary in comparison to Partials and Ruins. Part 3 of Fragments is where the Partials story truly grips its audience. There is definitely a curve ball thrown in a totally unexpected way, and everything from that point on is unpredictable, hurling us straight into the raucous events of Ruins. The last chapter of Fragments leaves us hanging on an edge and ready to dive straight into the third book. This is definitely not a book that could stand alone.

Fragments really shines in everything that is unpredictable. The landscaping for Kira’s journey is well thought out and absolutely enthralling at times. Several moments are literally jaw-dropping, “I never saw that coming” experiences, which is totally entertaining. Wells does not disappoint at all in keeping the creativity and surprises coming one after the other.

It is noteworthy that certain elements of this book have a definite, but not overdone, horror element to them. The audience is questioning exactly how far Dan Wells will go in the Partials sequence, and although he flirts with that line, he doesn’t end up crossing it.  The creativity of the entire story is intriguing, as are the details. There are definitely points that are creepy and even shocking. The Partials series is for those who appreciate imagination and thrill, and that isn’t just flattery. The entire series does not disappoint in that department. In the romance and pacing departments, we could use a little more discretion, but Fragments will keep you wanting more Partials.

Notable Scene:

“What does that have to do with anything?” asked Kira.

“You tell me,” said Heron. “What’s your little boyfriend Marcus likely to do when he finds out what you are?”

“Easy,” said Samm. “Everybody just calm down. This argument is not going to get us anywhere.”

“Neither is this bridge,” Kira growled, and turned Bobo’s head to lead him back down to the highway. She wanted to yell, to scream at them both, even at Afa–that this was their fault, that they had fought this war and destroyed the world before she was even old enough to defend it. But this one part of it, this massive act of destruction, she couldn’t even blame on them. That was the worst part of all. “Let’s find another way around.”

Partials Sequence:

0.5 Isolation

1. Partials

2. Fragments

3. Ruins

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FTC Advisory: Balzer + Bray/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Fragments. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

July 13th, 2014 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Bridget under Review Tags: Claire LaZebnik, Contemporary, Review, Romance, The Last Best Kiss, Young Adult

The Last Best KissTitleThe Last Best Kiss

Author: Claire LaZebnik

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 22, 2014

Format: Paperback, 374 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062252283 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062252289 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Anna Eliot is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook.

Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life.

All Anna wants is a chance to relive their last kiss again (and again and again). But Finn obviously hasn’t forgotten how she treated him, and he’s made it clear he has no interest in having anything to do with her.

Anna keeps trying to persuade herself that she doesn’t care about Finn either, but even though they’ve both changed since they first met, deep down she knows he’s the guy for her. Now if only she can get him to believe that, too….

With her signature wit and expertly authentic teen voice, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail and The Trouble with Flirting) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story. Fans of Polly Shulman, Maureen Johnson, and, of course, Jane Austen will love this irresistibly funny and romantic tale of first loves and second chances.

Quick & Dirty: Cute book but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

Opening Sentence: On nights when I’m honest with myself, I can admit that Finn Westbrook was the best thing about my ninth grade year.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Anna Elliot has always been a shy girl that doesn’t like confrontation. She has always had a great group of friends, but she hasn’t had the best of luck when it comes to boys. There has only been one boy she has ever really liked but that was back in ninth grade. His name was Finn Westbrook and he was a dorky boy that she met in her carpool. She knows that he wasn’t the cutest boy or the funniest, but there was just something about him that captured Anna’s heart. But Finn wasn’t the type of boy a girl like Anna was supposed to like. Her friends and family would never approve of her dating someone that was so uncool, so instead of sticking up for Finn, Anna made the mistake of breaking his heart. Shortly after that his family moved away and she hasn’t seen him since.

Just a few days before senior year starts Finn moves back to town and Anna wants nothing more than to apologize for how she treated him. But he has made it very clear he doesn’t want to have anything to do with Anna. Finn is no longer the geeky boy Anna fell for all those years ago. He has become quite a catch and all the girls in school are infatuated with him. He starts dating a pretty, outgoing girl that doesn’t care what others think of her, and she happens to be one of Anna’s best friends. They can’t completely avoid each other since they have the same group of friends, but Anna is determined to make things as normal as possible. It’s too bad she is still harboring feelings for him even though she knows he will never feel the same way about her ever again.

Anna was a sweet girl and she is very easily persuaded by others. While this worked really well in the original story, I actually didn’t like this about Anna. She is a go with the flow type of person and it made her a little boring. Also, it is hard to respect someone that will let others dictate all their decisions. She does get better as she gets older, but she has a very timid personality which just automatically makes her more of a follower. She has some good qualities as well like how caring she is and she is also very humble. She tries really hard to be a good person and she does learn from her mistakes which made me like her more. Overall, I did end up liking her even though she had some really big flaws.

Finn was an interesting love interest and I had some of the same issues with him that I had with Anna. He fit the character he was suppose to be perfectly but instead of him being a swoony guy he just came across as a jerk to me. I felt that in the original story Westbrook was easy to forgive because he was still a good guy, Finn on the other hand just came across as more of a petty jerk than anything else. He gets better at the end but I felt it was a little too late for me to really love him as much as I wanted to. He did have some good moments where he would start to grow on me then he would do something stupid that would make me like him even less then I did before. In the end, I had a hard time with Finn which was very unfortunate because I really wanted to love him.

I am a huge fan of Jane Austen and Persuasion is probably my favorite of all her books, so I was so excited to read this retelling of it, but sadly it wasn’t what I was hoping for. I’m not saying it was a bad book because it was still a cute read, but I have decided that this story is just doesn’t work very well in a modern day setting. I have read multiple retellings of this story and the only ones I have really liked have either been set in a totally different world or set during the time period the book was written in.  I just think that when you try to make it modern the story becomes cliché and the characters aren’t nearly as charming in a modern day setting as they were in the original story. With all of that being said, I still enjoyed reading this book, it just wasn’t as good as I had built it up to be. I have really enjoyed some of LaZebnik’s other Austen retellings and will be reading anything else that she comes out with. I would recommend this to anyone that is looking for a cute and fast read.

Notable Scene:

And that’s when she starts barking—so sharply and furiously that I instantly cringe back. “Stop it!” I say. “Just stop it!” And since I’m shouting, anyway, I scream for Phoebe. Possibly a little hysterically.

The dog crouches, ready to spring at me—at least I think she is—so I back up, my arms going up to shield my face, but before she can move, she’s suddenly pulled back. She turns her head, snapping furiously at whoever’s got her—which is Finn. He’s there, in the door way, dragging the dog back, and while he’s wrestling her, he manages to get out a panted and urgent, “Are you okay?” and I say, “I’m fine.” He yells over his shoulder for Phoebe to help him control the dog, and she appears, shoving past the other kids who are piling up in the hallway to see what’s going on. She says, “Stop it, Rowley! Stop it now!” and the dog seems to respond  at least a little bit to her name, because she stops snap ping and just glares at everyone and especially at Finn, who’s desperately trying to keep hold of her without getting bitten. “Little help here, Phoebe?” he says urgently. She reaches down, and he transfers the collar to her with an audible sigh of relief, backing quickly away.

He says to me again, “Are you okay?” and again I tell him I am

FTC Advisory:  Harper Teen provided me with a copy of The Last Best Kiss.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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